The Art of Polishing Concrete

Great designers and artist have a way at looking at older buildings differently.  It is almost a magically ability to see potential, to see beyond the current state of a building and imagine what could be. They are gifted in creating, changing, and impacting the world with their ideas and dreams.  This was just the case in Van Wert, Ohio at a historic National Guard Armory Building with an age of over 70 years.

A regional art center catering to NW Ohio and NE Indiana, The Wassenberg Art Center and director Hope Wallace, had an amazing vision for the local landmark. The Armory had been previously of interest by a publicly traded retail chain, but in their eyes the only option was to demolish the building and build a new structure on site. The Wassenberg Art Center saw another option for the community. They thought that they could revitalize the historic building, bring additional arts to the Van Wert area, and grow the downtown district by hosting events and popular artist in this new space.

By choosing to polish the concrete floors we would enhance the space by revitalizing the older concrete floors and maintain a certain character and charm of the historic building. By using dyes and polishing the surface to a high sheen we could also create our own unique floor in the space and bring new life to an old building.

In the main gallery the floor was custom dyed using 3 different colors of penetrating concrete dye.  Our entire polishing process involves use of a concrete densification process, mechanical polishing and honing steps to refine the concrete surface, and finishing with a stain guard process. This creates one of the most durable flooring surfaces in the commercial building industry. The best part is polished concrete floors can be tailored to serve as a focal point in space by customizing colors and designs, or serve as a extremely durable surface installed to handle the toughest industrial traffic conditions such as isle w ay in a large warehouse.

In the kitchen and bathrooms local artist used water-based concrete stains to hand paint the detailed pieces of art you can see below. This floor was then sealed with a urethane fortified sealer to protect the artistic designs and to add additional stain resistance in these areas.

This project was very exciting as we were able to creatively express our work and craftsmanship in a building dedicated to the arts, and a place that can serve and grow a community. Below you can see some pictures of the new space.

Stained & Polished Concrete Floors by Dancer Concrete Design Fort Wayne Indiana. Wassenburg Art Center Van Wert  (2)

The bulk of the polishing work was done with our large concrete polisher. We made 7 passes on this surface from removing adhesive to a highly reflective surface.

Stained & Polished Concrete Floors by Dancer Concrete Design Fort Wayne Indiana. Wassenburg Art Center Van Wert  (6)

Even in such a large space the details are what make the big difference. Here John takes care of the edges with our smaller 7″ polisher hooked up to a specialty concrete vacuum to maintain air quality.

Stained & Polished Concrete Floors by Dancer Concrete Design Fort Wayne Indiana. Wassenburg Art Center Van Wert  (16)

A new stage was built in the open gallery space to host bands, speakers, and other events.

 

Stained & Polished Concrete Floors by Dancer Concrete Design Fort Wayne Indiana. Wassenburg Art Center Van Wert  (11)

The polished and dyed concrete floor flows smoothly from the gallery into the hall connecting bathrooms, kitchen, and offices.

Stained & Polished Concrete Floors by Dancer Concrete Design Fort Wayne Indiana. Wassenburg Art Center Van Wert  (8)

We colored this floor after the 400 grit polishing pass. The floor was then densified, polished to 800 and finished with a stain guard.

Stained & Polished Concrete Floors by Dancer Concrete Design Fort Wayne Indiana. Wassenburg Art Center Van Wert  (7)

Right after coloring the floor with a concrete dye you can see the colors used in the space and how they move together. The colors Caramel and Slate Blue were used as primary colors. A light brown tone was added after to smooth the transition between the blue and caramel.

Stained & Polished Concrete Floors by Dancer Concrete Design Fort Wayne Indiana. Wassenburg Art Center Van Wert  (12)

This renovated gallery features polished concrete floors from Dancer Concrete Design of Fort Wayne, Indiana. You can clearly see the new lighting in the reflection from the floor.

Thanks for reading. Please share this post by using one of the buttons below.  You can check out the new Wassenberg Art Center at 214 S. Washington St. Van Wet, Ohio or visit online @http://www.wassenbergartcenter.org/. Grand opening is expected mid November 2013.


Industrial Epoxy Floor Repair

If you have ever taken the trip from Fort Wayne to Chicago along US 30 you will see many large steel buildings along the highway that house many global manufacturing companies. Many of these companies decide on this spot for its logistical location to major highways, the strong Indiana workforce, and tax advantages to moving in this area.

I have always been interested in what actually goes on inside of all these buildings and what types of products are being made so close to home. This week I got the chance to find out more about a company that we just completed work for and hear about their expansion and growth, including the purchase of a new building (because of the nature of their business and the competitive nature in this particular industry I can’t disclose who we worked for).

Before this company can move into their new location some work is being completed including new lighting and repairing some of the epoxy floor. We were called in to repair sections of the old epoxy where previous machinery had left uncoated parts of the floor. This process included mechanical removal of the old epoxy by grinding, and applying 2 new coats of gray epoxy flooring, for a total film thickness of 20 mils. The top coat also received a 40 mesh silica slip-resistant additive.

1-Epoxy Floor Coating for Industrial in Columbia City by Dancer Concrete Design Fort Wayne, Indiana  (5)

To remove the epoxy from the concrete flooring we use multiple grinder and vacuums to effectively remove the epoxy while maintaining a safe working environment. This building is empty but we can also work in fully operational facilities.

 2-Epoxy Floor Coating for Industrial in Columbia City by Dancer Concrete Design Fort Wayne, Indiana  (6)

Here is a close up of John and David using the 32″ – 1000lb grinder to remove the old epoxy. We use a combination of PCD scrapers and grinding segments to chip off the epoxy and grind the surface in 1 step.

3-Epoxy Floor Coating for Industrial in Columbia City by Dancer Concrete Design Fort Wayne, Indiana  (8)

Once the old epoxy flooring was removed we found many oil stains in the underlying concrete surface. These stains were from CNC machines that leaked cutting oil into the concrete. It was a must to remove all oil contamination prior to epoxy application. To remove this oil we used multiple techniques that drew the oil to the surface for cleanup. This included mechanical shot blasting, a caustic soda cleaner, and a poultice that set overnight. Our test confirmed we would have a strong long-term bond.

4-Epoxy Floor Coating for Industrial in Columbia City by Dancer Concrete Design Fort Wayne, Indiana  (9)

The finished flooring.

5-Epoxy Floor Coating for Industrial in Columbia City by Dancer Concrete Design Fort Wayne, Indiana  (10)

The finished floor.
6-Epoxy Floor Coating for Industrial in Columbia City by Dancer Concrete Design Fort Wayne, Indiana  (19)

Another photo showing the finished epoxy flooring for this Industrial facility located in Columbia City, Indiana.

Thanks for reading. Please share this post by using one of the buttons below.

Nick Dancer


Polished Concrete in Modern Home

For me there is nothing cooler in a home than having concrete serve as the main floor throughout the space.  When I first received the call for this home up in New Buffalo, Michigan I knew this would be a great project to be a part of. Just like most of our out of town projects, the clients took some pictures of the space and emailed them over for me to get an idea of the space, and figure up the cost to complete the project.  From the first time I saw the pictures I was drawn to the abundant natural light coming through the glass exterior walls and the modern design of the home.  New Buffalo is also a favorite place for my wife and I, so being part of a project in town was very cool.

The homes concrete floors were poured a few years back and although they were a hard durable surface, the floors were finished similar to an outdoor concrete surface. This means the surface had some trowel marks and the floor was very porous and difficult to keep clean. By choosing our complete polishing process we would make multiple passes with our polishing machines and also densify the surface and protect the floor with a stain guard. The final polished concrete floor leads to higher light reflectivity, a smooth surface for bare feet, and a surface that is much easier to keep looking clean. The final polishing pass was made with a 400 grit diamond pass which is considered a Level 1 shine that shows diffused reflections and a soft feel to the space.

Thanks for reading and feel free to share this post.

– Nick Dancer, Owner Dancer Concrete Design – 260-748-2252 – www.nickdancerconcrete.com

02-Polished Concrete Floor by Dancer Concrete Design of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Project in New Buffalo, Michigan  (2)

The homes back patio looks over a few acres of land only miles from the beaches of Lake Michigan.

05-Polished Concrete Floor by Dancer Concrete Design of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Project in New Buffalo, Michigan  (5)

   Keeping the air clean while we work is of extreme importance. Every machine we operate has its own specialty concrete dust collector. These machines clean their own filter every 10 seconds to maintain suction and maintain suction.

06-Polished Concrete Floor by Dancer Concrete Design of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Project in New Buffalo, Michigan  (6)

 Our 20” – 8.5 HP Concrete Polisher does the bulk of the polishing work for residential projects. This machine is capable of around 500 lbs of down pressure for great surface preparation and polishing. The machine operates by a planetary motion with 3 heads for without digging in or gouging the surface. We also have larger machines for our commercial and industrial polishing projects.

07-Polished Concrete Floor by Dancer Concrete Design of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Project in New Buffalo, Michigan  (7)

On this project there was no base trim – the walls are finished all the way to the floor. This required a crew of 2 to be assigned just to the detail and edge work. Here John C. works the inside corners with a multi-tool equipped with diamond abrasives.

13-Polished Concrete Floor by Dancer Concrete Design of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Project in New Buffalo, Michigan  (13)

  View of the finished floor from the master suite hallway.

19-Polished Concrete Floor by Dancer Concrete Design of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Project in New Buffalo, Michigan  (19)

This wood plank floor serves as a boardwalk between the 2 sections of the home. This view shows us the entertaining space and guest bedroom.

11-Polished Concrete Floor by Dancer Concrete Design of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Project in New Buffalo, Michigan  (11)

  This glass wall allows plenty of natural light into the space and provides a clear view of the  outdoors.


The Cost of Polished Concrete

Polished concrete floors have become very popular in the last few years. One of the main reasons these floors have seen extraordinary growth is the long-term durability of the finished surface. Concrete is the most widely used building material for its strength and longevity.  In the past concrete had been covered by another flooring material, coated with a thick sealer or left un-treated. When left un-treated concrete can stain easily, will dust, and will be difficult to clean.

A fully polished concrete floor consists of making progressive passes with diamond abrasives to refine the surface of the cement, use of a reactive concrete densifier, and a final stain guard product.

This full polishing process for an older concrete slab might consist of the following steps

  • 40 grit – metal bond pass
  • 80 grit – metal bond pass
  • 150 grit – metal bond pass
  • 100 grit – hybrid metal/resin pass
  • 200 grit – resin bond pass
  • 400 grit – resin bond pass
  • Application of color (if applicable)
  • Application of densifier
  • 800 grit – resin bond pass
  • Application of concrete guard product

As you can see the process for this fully polished concrete floor is very extensive. This is the recommended solution for a high shine floor for retail, churches, commercial establishments, and other high foot-traffic areas. Check out projects we have completed this full polishing system on by clicking here. The multiple polishing passes create a surface that is hard to dull and easy to clean. This entire flooring solution, although great for these high-traffic environments might be out of budget for certain projects.

We have found a high-performance alternative that results in a near polished finish that works great in industrial areas, warehouses, barn floors, commercial garages, repair facilities, and agricultural applications.

This process consists of a light grinding to open the concrete surface, a double application of a reactive colloidal silica concrete densifier, and a stain protector. This floor results in a durable low-cost alternative to a fully polished concrete surface.  Unlike other concrete sealers that can peel, flake, or dust, this system conditions the existing concrete surface to create a harder and denser concrete surface for maximum durability. On new concrete this process can cost between $1.25 – $2.00 sq. ft.

My company, Dancer Concrete Design, has recently completed some projects with this sealing system around Fort Wayne, Indiana. Check out this agricultural project we completed in North Manchester, Indiana.

Thanks for reading.

Nick Dancer, Owner Dancer Concrete Design

Fort Wayne, Indiana – 260.748.2252

As always, proper preparation is key for a great finish. Here the guys run a 100 grit diamond bond pass with the concrete polisher and then auto-scrub the surface with stripping pads. This process removes surface contamination without the use of  harsh chemicals, keeps the concrete clean, and refines the surface layer of the cement floor. You can also see how the floor looks dirty and has no shine.

Here David applies the concrete densifier to the surface. This penetrating liquid reacts with the chemical makeup of cement to create a harder and denser concrete surface. This process is done 2 times with various size particulate densifiers. By using two different particulate sizes we make sure complete penetration is achieved.

The final stain guard is applied with a microfiber pad and then burnished into the surface with a high-speed propane burnisher. This burnishing action melts the surface protector into the concrete surface creating a durable shine and protective barrier.

The finished floor has a high luster and shine. This shine is not a sealer that can peel or flake but has become part of the concrete surface.  This floor can also be easily re-burnished with a stain guard if conditions would dull the surface.

In two days we made these changes to this surface. The quick cure of this system allows the floor to be open to foot traffic  upon completion and open to full traffic within 24 hours of job completion.


Polished Concrete for Planet Fitness

Planet Fitness is one of the fastest growing fitness chains and has opened over 600 locations across the US! One of their most recent openings was for their second Fort Wayne location at the corner of Stellhorn and Maplecrest Rd. This project was very similar to the others except this project had one very different aspect, the main entry floor was going to be polished concrete. The Planet Fitness brand is bold and direct with colors, patterns, and design being very consistent in every location. This floor was going to be very customized for Planet Fitness by using a custom blended yellow concrete dye and 3 – 12′ x 12′ gear logos in the space.

This floor was previously covered with a black mastic and carpet glue but we had taken on similar challenges and knew we could make this floor shine. With this project being a fast-track construction project we had only a short amount of time to complete the work so additional walls could be built on the floor. With our advanced equipment and skilled craftsman we had this floor turned around on time. Planet Fitness is now open and can be found online at http://www.planetfitness.com/

Even though this floor looks pretty rough we knew we had the ability to transform it into a great finished surface.

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Custom samples were made on site to confirm final color choice.Planet-Fitness-Polished-Concrete-by-Dancer-Design-Fort-Wayne-2

To stay on track we worked longer days. Here you can see we did some patch work so it could cure overnight and be ground down the next morning.Planet-Fitness-Polished-Concrete-by-Dancer-Design-Fort-Wayne-3

Our large concrete polisher works well in an open space such as this. Using 6 rotating heads it creates one of the best polishes available.Planet-Fitness-Polished-Concrete-by-Dancer-Design-Fort-Wayne-4

Open for Business.Planet-Fitness-Fort-Wayne-Indiana-Polished-Concrete-Floor-by-Dancer-Design-9

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Polished Concrete Floor completed by Dancer Concrete Design of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

They can be contacted by visiting www.dancerconcrete.com